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Gone are the days when drones were thought to be meant for hobbyists or as playthings or as “an eye in the sky” for the military. Today, drones are mainstream and have made their way into industries such as construction, oil & gas, mining, logistics, space tech and many more. 

The rise in adoption of drones has opened the doors for new opportunities for drone enthusiasts and aspiring drone engineers.

What is a Drone?

Drones — also known as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” (UAVs) — are robot-like aircrafts without a human pilot on board. Today, they’re often found rescuing people from hurricane disaster zones, photographing weddings, delivering food to our homes and everywhere in between. 

Originally meant for military usage, drones operate with varying levels of autonomy — they can be controlled by a remote pilot or rely on sensors and work with a LIDAR.

Best Drone Engineer Jobs You Can Prepare For

With drones being used anywhere and everywhere from photography at weddings to wildlife conservation to special space missions, the demand for drone engineers is increasing manifolds. 

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a drone engineer in the United States is $86,728 and can go up to $162,500 which makes this field highly attractive.

Various drone engineer jobs are available in the drone-related job market depending on your skills and experience level. Some common career paths include:

UAV Operator or Drone Pilot

This might be the easiest to understand. The job requires you to control the drone for doing the tasks that the company does for example, photography, grocery delivery etc. 

Many employers also ask for a UAV certificate and knowledge of rules and regulations for flying drones. Often experienced pilots are preferred for these roles. 

Manufacturing Drones

This field is ideal for those who have a background in aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering or robotics. Managing physical supply of drones is going to shape up as a burgeoning industry. 

Experience will always be a bonus but you could start as an intern and then grow from there.

Drone Maintenance and Customization

As the usage of drones grows, there will  be added requirements for their maintenance and spare parts. Professionals would be required for the maintenance of these drones.

As the usage pattern evolves, there is also going to be a requirement for customization. Customized parts and functionalities will  be required to upgrade existing drones.

Artistic Usage of Drones

While you might argue that this will fall under flying drones but creative and artistic use of drones in performance arts can go beyond just flying drones.

Designing light shows, choreographing teams to create something interesting sounds so much fun.

Prepare Now for Drone Engineer Jobs

You can start preparing yourself for drone engineering jobs. Start by learning the basics of  programming by enrolling in our Introduction to Programming Nanodegree program. Follow it up with our Flying Car and Autonomous Flight Engineer Nanodegree program to understand the core concepts of drone technology.

Most of all, begin with experimenting with drones in your spare time. There are many opportunities and the job market is about to explode with novel career paths. 

So go grab those jobs!

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Ritika Pradhan
Ritika Pradhan
Ritika is the Content Manager at Udacity and is passionate about bringing inspirational student stories to light. When not talking to the amazing Udacity students, she can be found reading an article or watching a video on the internet.